Microsoft said that for the release of the newest operating system Windows 8, it will buy Perceptive Pixel Inc., a producer of large touch-screen displays that are capable of being used by several people at once.
There was no announcement about the reason and the terms of the acquisition, but there are some clues. It seems that the giant hardware isn't really the target; the company already has PixelSense, a 40-inch multitouch display. It's more likely that Perceptive Pixel’s software is what Microsoft want.
The release is scheduled within the first week of August to manufacturers, and then the end of October for the sale, said Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer.
“It’s just a very big Windows 8 tablet, but people ‘Ooh and ah’ at it. Our challenge is to make that technology more affordable”, said Ballmer quoted by Businessweek.
"Microsoft's central focus has, of course, historically been software. However, the company last month unveiled a tablet, called Surface. It's possible that Microsoft might also use Perceptive Pixel to aid it in its future hardware plans" - CNET
The giant 82-inch multi-touch screen is currently for sale at $80,000 and is already Windows 8 compatible. The device had been demonstrated by Microsoft in February with big expectations to sell a few million units within the near future.
The founder of Perceptive Pixel Jeff Han said he will join Microsoft as part of the company's Office division with his team. He was the one who demonstrated the multi- touch technology at the TED conference in 2006.
Han said that top-secret defense and government projects are his company’s biggest customers and he want more mainstream, that's why he need Microsoft and more Office-programs integration like Microsoft OneNote, the famous note-taking application, and Lync conferencing software.
As one of his biggest customers, CNN had started to use the giant touch-screen monitor since 2008 when the news network displayed large interactive U.S. map for the coverage of US Presidential election.
"Perceptive Pixel, the outfit behind the infamous Magic Wall displays trotted out every U.S. Election Day on the cable news networks, is now a Microsoft company. But Perceptive Pixel’s software - not hardware - could be the key to the deal" - ReadWriteWeb.
The acquisition is expected to close this summer and Microsoft will try as hard as possible to lower the price of Perceptive Pixel products, said Microsoft's General Manager Giovanni Mezgec to Businessweek without revealing a specific month and how much the price will be lowered
"We will do anything possible to get the cost down and to get new forms of this out in the market places in any way possible”, he said.